We caught a bus to Kanye and Kid Cudi’s album launch bonfire in the middle of nowhere
Last night, (7 June) we boarded a bus in a parking lot just off Hollywood Boulevard for a listening party of Kanye West and Kid Cudi’s much-anticipated collaborative album, Kids See Ghosts.
After a few delays and a quick scan of the liability waiver agreement – one clause cleared G.O.O.D. Music of all responsibility if you literally lost your mind – we set off at around 7.30pm. We then kept driving. And kept driving. As the livestream of the event was set to start at 8pm, it was an anxious bus journey. But delays online brought us peace and after an hour of travel we pulled up at a dark, anonymous bowl in the mountains of Santa Clarita.
Similar to the blockbuster destination premiere that launched ye last weekend, Kanye and Cudi had put on a bonfire for the guests. Mac and cheese, burgers, fries and Hennessy cocktails were available. Limited merchandise (including heavy-duty Kids See Ghosts blankets) were being given away and the top of the hill could be spotted a mile off by a roaring bonfire which lit just as the album aired.
Kids See Ghosts, we are live… finally pic.twitter.com/WQZUJq5pBN
— Dylan Farella (@dfarella) June 8, 2018
In terms of guests, the positioning off the event just north off Hollywood gave way to a diverse guestlist. Megastars like Ariana Grande and Kourtney Kardashian were on site along with semi-funny rapper Lil Dicky and Simon Cowell signee Labrinth. Legendary radio DJ Big Boy was reporting on the ground – roasting those muscling for a shot at merch. We also spotted Master of None and Chi creator Lena Waithe, Compton rapper YG, G.O.O.D. soloist Kacy Hill and – um – Courtney Love. Notably, legendary artist Takashi Murakami, who designed the album’s cover, was present for the listening.
As it approached 11pm, the album finally launched with a blast of murky sub-bass. Pusha T is the first voice you can clearly hear – delivering an influx of the surgical flows he’s been promising for the summer. And as the record progressed, the boundless creativity of these Wyoming sessions bore more fruit; Kanye and Cudi evenly share the spotlight but, after a two listens, it feels a bit like a Ye-produced Cudi album rather than a full collaboration.
There’s a sprawling psych-leaning track where they both declare their freedom and Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) turns in an effortlessly cool guest appearance on one of the latter tracks. Blasted over a bass-heavy system right next to a blazing fire when you’re keeping half an eye out for Kylie Jenner, it’s hard to grasp the intricacies of the production, but there seems to be some really precise sampling at play – creating addictive beats for Cudi to thrive on.
Judging by initial photos of the leading acts (they were tucked away in a special shed / garage hybrid for most of the broadcast), they are excited to finally have this piece of work in the world. As Thursday became Friday and we piled back on to the bus to Hollywood, smelling of campfire and exchanging sightings, we’re excited too.